First Presbyterian Continues Online Worship through the Summer
Both the health task force and Session have concurred that the evidence shows that gathering together in enclosed spaces puts people at a high risk for being exposed to the Covid 19 virus. We have decided to keep our facility closed through the Summer and to continue to connect online for our worship and activities.
More and more we are reading that reopening will be an extraordinary effort with many required adaptations until a vaccine is developed. Churches gathering before the infection is treatable or preventable will need to: to mandate wearing of masks, distance in the pews and therefore limited in size, use no objects that are common (Hymnals, Bibles, Offering plates, or bulletins), have no singing or call and response, any speaking done behind masks or some sort and/or some sort of shield. There can be no passing of the peace, fellowship hour or greeting lines.
Even with all of these precautions it would still be more risky than staying home and so those in the vulnerable category, which is 80-90% of our attendance, would need to remain home.
Because of these sobering realities all were in agreement that we would not rush to reopen, that we will wait and see as others experiment with reopening, and take our time to develop a strategy for the Fall. It was decided to have no plan to reopen before September 1st.
The task force and Session are charged with coming up with those plans, if you would like to help then please let us know. Each committee will be charged with developing their plans in accordance with best practices, for beginning activities again. Of course, Session will revisit their decision monthly as new data and new policies come through.
Some helpful resources:
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public
Community and Faith-Based Organizations Plan, Prepare, and Respond
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resource Center
High SARS-CoV-2 Attack Rate Following Exposure at a Choir Practice
We know that many are enjoying online worship and other activities. We also know many miss gathering in person. We never stopped being the church. We have continued to help people in our community and around the world with Mission giving and challenge offerings. We gather weekly in various ways online. We are the Church and nothing can stop us from being so!
Please know there is pastoral support and you are not alone.